Part 3

     

    [more:]

      Sara Farr

    Staff Writer

     
    Joss Stone

    Mind, Body & Soul (S-Curve) Sept. 28, 2004
    The teenage soul sensation from Devon, England, has delivered her
    first album of original material after last year’s astonishing Soul Sessions.
    Here, you find more of the deep-throated soul balladeering that brings
    back whispers of Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson and all the other
    strong women of the Motown glory days. Stone’s songwriting is mature
    and full, under the guidance and help of Lamont and Beau Dozier,
    proving not only= that she has a great voice, but that she’s a great
    writer as well. Bravo.
     
    Trashcan Sinatras

    Weightlifting (SpinArt) Aug. 31, 2004
    It might be hard to keep it fresh after seventeet years, but
    Glasgow’s Trashcan Sinatras pull out one of the best records of their
    career with the long-awaited Weightlifting.
    This is melancholic pop drenched in strings, horns, beautiful melodies
    and lovely harmonies. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to
    listen to songs such as “All the Dark Horses” or “It’s a Miracle” and
    not feel simultaneously wistful and joyful.
     
    The Hives

    Tyrannosaurus Hives (Interscope) July 20, 2004
    It’s nice to see Interscope, former home of the Rev. Horton Heat,
    take another gamble on a rollicking group of rock ‘n’ rollers,
    especially some dorky-looking ones from Sweden, a country whose only
    other pop-culture claim to fame is a bikini team. (Makes you wonder
    where Nobel got it, doesn’t it?) Anyway, Tyrannosaurus Hives
    is the sophomore release from this garage-punk outfit, and here we find
    a much more layered, polished sound — without the loss of the frenetic
    energy and driving bass that characterized Veni, Vidi, Vicious.
    It’s a shame garage rock has fallen off most everyone’s radar, because
    this is not only not specifically a garage album, it’s one of the best
    rock albums of the year.
     
    Youssou N’Dour

    Egypt (Nonesuch Records) June 8, 2004
    It’s interesting to see what the rest of the world regards as “pop”
    music. N’Dour, a Senagalese singer, often blends Cuban and African
    rhythms into his music for Western audiences, but on Egypt,
    he adds the flutes and percussion of traditional Egyptian and Arabic
    music. Make no mistake; this album is not the club-mix dumbed-down
    Eastern pop you hear on Starbucks sampler CDs. It’s the real deal. It
    may sound cheesy or unsophisticated to Western ears, but the sentiments
    expressed behind the language are still quite real and beautifully
    delivered.
     
    Federico Aubele

    Gran Hotel Buenos Aires (ESL) Feb. 24, 2004
    Argentinian tango run through electronic sensibilities, complete
    with original stringed instruments such as the bandeon. Mmm, delicious.
    I want more. It’s always interesting to see how a native artist updates
    a traditional musical form, and Aubele has blended the longing and
    passion inherent in tango with the intrigue, excitement and throb of
    modern electronic music. The mix finds traditional tango singers
    sharing ground with the members of Thievery Corporation. Unfortunately,
    the disc could easily be co-opted for upscale clothing boutiques and
    overpriced European discotheques. C’est la vie. Even chowderheads
    sometimes get lucky and like something with real merit.
     
    Thievery Corporation

    The Outernational Sound (ESL Music) June 29, 2004
    These guys have been mixing and spinning for quite awhile, coming
    up with some of the best club/lounge music that’s out there. Virtually
    everyone asks these guys to remix their stuff at one point or another,
    and on The Outernational Sound,
    it’s easy to see why. This is a nineteen-song deejay set, spanning
    everything from old Motown sounds to Indian music to reggae to
    afro-beat. By the time it’s done, you’ll feel like you’ve gone ’round
    the world in eighty minutes.
     
    Danzig

    Circle of Snakes (Evilive Records) Aug. 31, 2004
    Glenn Danzig has one of the most distinctive voices in music. It’s
    one of those you-either-love-it-or-hate-it voices. Where Danzig excels
    is his ability to blend the theatrical into heavy music without coming
    across too cheesy or juvenile (someone want to send a copy of his
    resume to Korn?). Some might disagree with that, but it’s hard to argue
    with a career that has outlasted two bands and spawned more than eight
    solo records. On Circle of Snakes,
    Danzig scales down the theatrics and opts for a more straightforward
    sound, dropping his alt-metal mistakes of the past and delivering some
    of the better music of his long and varied career. The atmosphere is
    dark, the guitars are heavy, but there’s also a great attention to
    melody and song-craft.
     
    Franz Ferdinand

    Franz Ferdinand (Domino) March 9, 2004
    There must be something in the water in Scotland. Not only did the
    Trashcan Sinatras resurface with an awesome record, newcomers Franz
    Ferdinand bust out of the gate with a self-titled debut that landed
    them a song on the big extravaganza that was the first NFL game of the
    season. It’s quite a leap for a band of university art students. In
    this case, the hype is justified. Songs like “The Dark of the Matinee”
    are catchy and memorable, with the lyrics sticking with you long after
    the song is over. That’s a virtually unheard-of phenomenon for
    indie-rock bands, which generally pride themselves on being so esoteric
    even they cannot remember their songs. Other songs, such as “Michael,”
    with its quirky reverse-gender roles, and “Tell Her Tonight,” with its
    radio-ready pop hooks and smart lyrics, are candy-pop gems. This is
    perhaps the best feel-good record of the year.
     
    Fantomas

    Delirium Cordia (Ipecac) Jan. 27, 2004
    This album is genius. Mike Patton is perhaps the only artist
    working today besides John Zorn who can pull off a
    nearly-eighty-minute-long song as an entire album and not lose his way
    or annoy you as it plays. Delirium
    takes you through all sorts of sensations, from slow and peaceful like
    dripping water, to loud and crashing like a horror movie’s climax. It
    is quite an effort, and those who question Patton’s sanity need look no
    further than the fact that yes, he can even pull this off live.


    Best of 2003
    Best of 2004
    Best of 2005